School Details - Madrid Plaza de Colon
Located in the heart of the elegant Salamanca district, next to Plaza de Colon, in the centre of Madrid, with excellent public transport connections by bus, metro and suburban train, this school is at the cutting edge of language teaching methodology - past and present members of our staff having written some of the best-known ELT course books and materials. The school was founded in 1985 and, although we teach some 2,000 students a year and some 50 teachers work for us, they have managed to remain true to their philosophy of "big but little" and a friendly, personal atmosphere reigns at all levels.
The teacher training department at this school is well-established and has established a reputation for excellence, having achieved a 100% pass rate on CELTA courses. Our tutors are all fully qualified and have a wide range of experience in teacher training.
The building is fully equipped with audio visual technology and trainees have full access to the internet and computer facilities. There is an extensive CELTA library complete with all the latest EFL materials for trainees to use. There are 14 classrooms, all fully air conditioned and a bar area which serves as a place to relax and meet students and teachers, as well as a kitchen with a microwave, fridge, kettle, etc.
Take a pin and stick it in the centre of Spain, and you've pretty much got Madrid. Now stick that same pin in the centre of Madrid and you should have the Puerta del Sol, the point from which distances to all corners of the country are measured, and a reminder of the city's importance both past and present. Madrid stands up for all that is Spain, be it culture, art, museums or shopping, but more than this it exudes an energy and flair quite unlike any other capital. The red brick of the Plaza Mayor, the clowns in El Retiro park, traffic at 4am, the flea market, cracked nutshells on the floor and Goya... Madrid is many things to many people, but maybe it's this very hotchpotch that puts such rhythm in Spain's heart.
The Certificate course: The Cambridge CELTA is an initial training course designed for those with little or no previous teaching experience - although the course is also suited to those who are already in the profession but have no formal teaching qualification. It is designed for native speakers of English, but is also open to non-native speakers whose level of spoken and written English enables them to follow all components of the course. Candidates should be at least 18 years old.
The course covers the general principles of teaching adult classes from beginner to post-intermediate level. Teaching practice is a significant component of the course.
The course is subject to final approval by Cambridge ESOL.
The course tutors:
The course tutors are fully trained, accredited and experienced Cambridge CELTA tutors.
What kind of people take the CELTA course?
The course is designed for native speakers of English, although there may be a few non-native speakers on the course if their competence in spoken and written English is of a sufficiently high standard. Taking the course in Spain is particularly useful for trainees wishing to teach speakers of Spanish in the future.
Although the CELTA is an initial training course, i.e. for those who have no previous experience of teaching English, there will be trainees on the course who have taught before and who wish to gain an ELT qualification. However, seminar input and guidance for teaching practice will assume no prior teaching experience.
Who runs the course?
There will be two main tutors on the course, one of whom will be the Course Director. All the tutors are approved by Cambridge to run CELTA courses, and have considerable teaching and training experience.
How much work does the course involve?
A lot! The four-week full-time course is extremely intensive. No matter how strongly we stress this, many trainees are still surprised by the amount of time it takes up. It is very strongly advised that candidates on full-time courses have no other commitments during the four weeks.
In addition to the timetabled hours, candidates have to spend their free-time planning lessons and working on assignments.
What do the seminars involve?
Seminar topics include: the language itself (structure, vocabulary, pronunciation, functions); classroom methodology (classroom management, ways of presenting meaning, ways of providing oral practice, developing skills...); the language learner; selection and exploitation of materials; errors and their significance; timetabling; testing. This is simply an overview of topics; a detailed course timetable will be given to candidates on the first day of the course.
All seminars will be led by a tutor. Most require a high level of trainee participation, often in small groups or pairs. While occasional parts of seminars, may consist of a 'lecture' by the tutor, these are the exception rather than the rule.
Will the seminars 'teach English grammar to the trainees?
A daunting task in four weeks - and an impossible one, especially as grammar is just one of many topics on the syllabus! At the start of the course one of trainees' main concerns is often their perceived lack of awareness of English grammar. What the course aims to do is to provide an overview of some of the main 'problem areas' and, perhaps more importantly, to equip trainees to be able to work out or find solutions to grammatical problems themselves. There is no ‘end of the road’ when building up one’s language awareness, as the tutors themselves can testify! Our task is to help trainees towards the stage when grammatical questions become interesting rather than frightening.
How is teaching practice (TP) organised?
TP is a two-hour block daily M – F, or a two-hour, 45 minute block M- Th. Trainees are divided into TP groups of five or six, and each TP group, with one tutor, is responsible for a class of students.
Trainees teach initially for short periods (e.g. the six trainees in a group teaching for 25 minutes each), and then teach for longer periods as the course progresses (e.g. later TP blocks could consist of three trainees teaching 40, 50 minutes or 1 hour each, with the other trainees in the group not teaching that day). All timetabled TP is observed by one of the tutors.
There is a considerable amount of lesson-planning guidance from the tutors in the early stages of the course. As the course progresses, formal lesson-planning guidance decreases, as trainees are expected to take on increased planning responsibilities; however, tutors are available for consultation over lesson planning most of the time, apart from the last lesson to be taught.
The students are fully aware that the lessons are taught by unqualified teachers, and will have paid a nominal sum to attend. Most, perhaps all, of the students will be Spanish and the minimum age is 16 (no maximum age). Class sizes vary, with an average of 10-12 students. Class sizes should not exceed 12.
What is TP feedback?
Feedback follows TP, either immediately, later in the day or on the following day. In feedback the TP group and the tutor discuss the lessons which took place during TP. While the tutor is inevitably seen as having ‘a leading role’ in feedback sessions, contributions are invited, encouraged and welcomed from all trainees; these could be in the form of comments or questions (NB When a trainee is not teaching, s/he is observing fellow trainees teach). When discussing a particular lesson, the teacher of that lesson is expected to comment on the lesson: developing an ability to evaluate one's own teaching is a very important component of the course, and observation tasks are set with a view to developing this. At the end of each feedback session written feedback from the tutor is given to each candidate who taught.
Feedback sessions will be followed by preparation for future TP sessions.
While trainees often find feedback sessions demanding - it can be quite challenging to comment, in a group, on one's own and on others' lessons - many trainees say they find these sessions to be the most rewarding aspect of the course.
Is there one particular teaching method that the course advocates?
There is no one rigid 'method' which is advocated on the course. Indeed, a variety of approaches are examined, although in four weeks it is difficult to go into every possible approach in great detail. If there is a principle which the tutors all share. It is that involving students in the learning process is usually more effective than the teacher simply telling the students things.
What are the possible final grades?
Pass A , Pass B, Pass and Fail. The CELTA is not a course where accepted candidates automatically pass.
The failure rate, however, is not high - and candidates in danger of failing are given frequent warnings (including in writing) and appropriate advice. Personal tutorials take place at the end of week 1, half-way stage and three quarters of the way through the course; one of the main aims of these tutorials is for trainees to get a clear idea of their overall progress and their potential final grade.
Most candidates receive a Pass, and a small percentage of successful candidates receive Pass B. About one candidate in every sixty receives Pass A. There is no ‘quota’ of particular grades for each course; it's theoretically possible for all trainees on a course to fail or to receive pass A (though both situations are extremely unlikely.
What is the final grade based on, and who decides it?
The three components of assessment are:
1. Teaching practice
2. Written assignments
3. Professional development.
Performance in TP is naturally a key component in deciding a candidate's final grade. As regards the other two assessment components...
Written assignment topics include the following areas: language analysis; reflection on classroom teaching; individual learners; materials for English language teaching. These assignment are all very practical, and do not require long theoretical dissertations. The requirements for each assignment are discussed at the time the assignment is set.
Professional awareness includes ability to assess one's strengths and weaknesses, ability and willingness to work and liaise with colleagues, and other factors which may determine the candidate's potential as a future colleague and employee.
There is no CELTA examination; assessment is continuous. Final grades are decided by the course tutors at the end of the course. In addition, every CELTA course is visited for one day by a Cambridge-appointed assessor. One of the assessor's main roles is to ensure that the course is running according to Cambridge regulations; in this sense, s/he is assessing the centre and the tutors, rather than the candidates. Part of such an assessment, however, involves the sampling of a number of trainees’ files, examining tutors' comments on TP and written assignments, and determining whether the tutors’ views on what constitutes, for example, a possible Pass B candidate correspond with Cambridge's own. The assessor is also available for trainees to talk to and comment on the course if they so wish.
Where is the qualification recognised?
The CELTA is probably the most widely recognised initial ELT qualification. It was originally designed by, and intended for, the private language school sector, and private language schools remain the main source of employment for course graduates. The CELTA is still less well known in North America than it is in Europe and Asia, although it is gaining wider recognition in North America.
The CELTA' s acceptance within the state system will vary from country to country; some countries insist that those working in the state sector have the state teaching qualification, although CELTA graduates have been successful in gaining employment in the state sector.
We would never be able to guarantee that every ELT institution worldwide will accept the CELTA (or indeed any other qualification). We can state, however, that it is a highly regarded qualification within the ELT industry and one’s chances of finding suitable employment will be considerably enhanced with the CELTA.
Does the school operate a job placement service for successful candidates?
No. We do, however, offer considerable help and advice in this area, and trainees are also welcome to consult us for advice after the course has finished.
There will be an opportunity during the interview to ask for clarification on any of the above sections, and to ask any questions which you feel are not covered above.
Number of participants:
There will be a maximum of twelve participants on the course. Selection onto the course is by interview. Personal interviews will take place in Madrid. Telephone interviews can be arranged for applicants based outside Spain.
Course dates and times:
Classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings
The course will take place in Calle Serrano. The school is opposite Metro Serrano (line 4).
The school can arrange accommodation, if required, for trainees coming to Madrid to do the course in shared apartments, student residences and pensions. For more information about accommodation, please let us know what you are looking for when you apply for a place on the course.
Course fees and payment:
Once you have been accepted on a CELTA course, your place cannot be reserved until the school has received a deposit of 250 GBP. The balance of the course fee must be received at least 4 weeks before the starting date of the course.
Important note: Deposits are non-refundable if the candidates are unable to attend the course. The school reserves the right to cancel any course that does not fulfil the minimum number of trainee teachers required by Cambridge ESOL regulations.
In this case, the deposit will be refunded in full or alternative course dates offered.
The school works with an English-speaking agency which can arrange accommodation for the full duration of the course. This is normally a room in a shared apartment with easy access to the school and to the amenities of the city centre. Prices for a month range from €420 to €450 and include all gas, electricity and water.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 2.30 pm
Help for Jobs
Considerable help and support is offered, both during and after the course, to find suitable employment. Teachers with the Cambridge CELTA from this centre have quickly moved into teaching positions in Madrid, around Spain and in other parts of Europe and the world. The school guarantees employment to anyone who is awarded an A or B grade on the course, and all other successful CELTA graduates are offered an interview for work on our intensive summer courses and permanent contracts starting in October.
The school also has direct connections with a number of other quality language teaching establishments and EFL agencies in Madrid, which will enable you to find a suitable teaching post on completion of the course. To help with your continued professional development, The centre offers CELTA graduates free entry to the weekly teacher training sessions.
How to Apply
1. Choose the start date which interests you. If you’re still unsure, please choose an approximate date for now – you will be able to specify later.
2. Register your details with Cactus TEFL (1 minute) to help us track your application.
3. Download the application form and save it on your computer.
4. Complete it offline in your own time
5. Go back to www.cactustefl.com, sign in and submit your completed form.
6. We will keep you posted by email throughout the process.
You can also submit an application by fax, or post. We will explain how to do this on the application form. Please contact us if you would like us to post you an empty application form.